The New Testament is filled with commands Christians are supposed to obey: 

  • Be imitators of God (Eph. 5:1)
  • Walk in love (Eph. 5:1)
  • Do not get drunk with wine (Eph. 5:18)
  • Submit to one another (Eph. 5:21)
  • Have the same attitude as that of Jesus (Phil. 2:5)
  • Work out your salvation (Phil. 2:12)

And the list goes on and on. 

When reading through all the stuff Christians are supposed to obey, it can feel crushing. But paying close attention to the context of these NT commands is important if we’re going to approach obedience appropriately. There are two truths to keep in mind that may help you think differently about this.

1) Obedience doesn’t merit God’s grace; it expresses gratitude for already receiving God’s grace

The unique message of Christianity is God’s favor doesn’t come to those who think they’ve earned it. God’s favor comes to those who know they can never earn it. We obey God to show our love for him not to try to get him to love us. His love for me precedes my obedience to him. This changes my mindset as I approach obedience. Instead of obeying out of fear or insecurity over not having God’s love and grace, I obey out of gratitude for already receiving God’s love and grace.

2) God’s commands originate from the same God who sacrificed His Son for me

Milton Vincent put it well, “…if God loved me enough to sacrifice His Son’s life for me, then He must be guided by that same love when He speaks His commandments to me.”

God’s love for us is so intense that He sent Jesus to die in our place. If we’ve been blown away by that, then we should be able to see God’s commands must be equally good and loving. He’s not asking me to obey because He’s trying to be mean. He’s asking me to obey because He’s overwhelmingly loving. This changes my mindset as I approach obedience to the commands of Scripture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *